Thursday 18 February 2021

Get the Hell Out (Taiwan 2020: Dir I - Fan Wang)

Wang’s debut feature is that rare thing, a Taiwanese horror movie, and while the jumping off point for its blend of shocks and yocks might be some of the livelier genre examples from Japan and North Korea, its (sort of) neighbours, Get the Hell Out is in a league of its own.

Tough no-nonsense Hsiung Ying-ying is a Member of Parliament, easy to rile and quick with her fists of fury. She’s been drawn to the noble profession because of the need to oppose the plans of a dodgy company, St. Arian, who want to build a chemical plant near her coastal home (and whose plant is rumoured to be contaminated with rabies). Ying-ying’s vocal opposition to the scheme makes her unpopular, and her downfall -  attacking a press corp whipped up by rival politician, the garishly suited playboy Li Ku-chung – leaves the way for witless Wang You-wei, a security guard with a nose bleeding disorder - to be inserted as her puppet replacement. Mr Li thinks he can win the new MP over to his side, and give the plant the go ahead, but You-wei is sweet on Ying-ying, which she exploits to try and manipulate him to vote against the scheme.

As the minutes tick down to the heavily signalled zombie invasion, and You-wei looks like he’s siding with Ying-ying leading up to the crucial vote, unbeknownst to all St. Arian’s president has become rabidly infected and started biting people. The military lock down the whole chamber, forcing the opposing political sides to battle each other and the growing numbers of zombies. But does luckless You-wei hold the key to their salvation?

Get the Hell Out is a gruesome dayglo delight; a hyperactive – and extremely, if broadly, funny – zombie caper that takes side swipes at politics, corruption, national pride and yes Coronavirus, a film where the underdogs are championed and the bad guys get theirs in arterial spraying glory. Often it's like a live action beat 'em up video game (occasionally literally so), relentlessly inventive and fast moving. 

The small but well developed cast of characters is fleshed out by some great supports, such as HR Dragon Wang Feng-hua, a formidable woman with a limited life expectancy, Ying-ying’s dad, a gardener by trade, who shows where his daughter gets her aggression from, and desperate to please receptionist (and substitute military serviceman) Ku Te-you, with his ludicrous bowl haircut.

Subtle this ain’t but it’s an enormous amount of fun, and it's so crammed with little bits of detail, great sight gags and eccentric sound design (including a brilliantly quirky soundtrack) that you’ll doubtless want to see it again immediately afterwards, if only to pick up the bits you missed first time round. Fantastic.

Get the Hell Out will screen at the Bloody Flicks Awards on 20 February 2021.

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